What does a life of faith look like? As Christians, we are told that we are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), but how does that become more than a nice platitude? How does that inform every aspect of our lives? How do we be a people who press on as the people of God, even when things are hard, or when the future is uncertain, or when we have settled into the numbing monotony of day to day life?
Fortunately for us, the pastor who wrote the letter to the Hebrews had a thing or two to say about these questions. He knew the circumstances of his hearers – how they went through all sorts of various trials and difficulties – and he cared enough for their lives that he spoke into their situations and offered them the hope that only comes from Christ, the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).
This sermon series is about what it means to be a people of faith. By learning from that “great cloud of witnesses,” those ancient faithful, we will see more clearly the nature of the faith the pastor who wrote Hebrews would have his hearers emulate. Their reliance upon the word of God and perseverance through whatever they faced will become a motivation for us to press on and persevere in the present today.
What does it mean to be the body of Christ? We have died with him. We have been raised with him. We have ascended with him and our lives are hidden with him in God. Paul says that in light of the fact that God has chosen us for a new life of love in his Son, we must dress in the wardrobe he has picked out for us (Colossians 3:12).
So many Christians have experienced the very worst of life in the body of Christ. They have been on the receiving end of anger, criticism, gossip, or slander. They have been ignored, embarrassed, or judged. Many have bounced in and out of churches for years without ever sensing they belonged or mattered to anyone. Is this the best we can expect out of the church in this life, or does God have something else altogether in mind? Can church become a source of real hope, real joy, real love, and real life?
Guided by the practical wisdom from the Apostle Paul for the churches in Colossae and Ephesus, this sermon series will take a hard look at the very worst of church life with a hopeful eye toward all we can become through the Son in the Spirit. To live out God’s intentions for the Christian church in the world, we must be a people who move From Rags to Righteousness.
The ascension. Myth? Legend? Fabrication? Or the intended consequence of the resurrection? Perhaps even more important: What does the movement of Jesus from the grave to the sky mean for my life?
This sermon series will grapple with these questions and so much more as together we dive into the implications of our Lord’s resurrection, ascension, and ministry both in between and beyond. Are you struggling with confusion, fear, or doubt? Jesus comes alongside of those who love him. Do you need a fresh perspective on life? He wants to give you his own perspective of himself, yourself, and the world around you. Do you feel alone in your efforts to sort through the labyrinth of your circumstances? He knows firsthand what you are going through and fights on your behalf.
Easter has come and gone. So now what? As people whose lives are hidden with God in Christ, what does it mean that we have died with him, been raised with him, and have moved with him From the Grave to the Sky?
The Scripture reveals some ideas that are very attractive to the human heart. Who doesn’t like the concepts of peace, comfort, hope, and love?
But there is a central concept which is the basis of all the ‘positives’ that, at first flush, does not strike us as quite so uplifting; that is the Cross.
The symbol of all the good that God offers to us in the atonement is the Cross. And, with every verse that pertains to victory the underlying theme is coming to the end of ourselves. (Phil 3:10-11) Jesus did not say, “Take up your open tomb.” He laid down a principle that He also applied to Himself, “Take up your cross and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24) Theologians call this the “cruciform” life, a life shaped by the meaning of the cross.
In this Lenten season, we are going to delve into this startling and exhilarating command, this formative principle from which everything else in our lives emanates. Our goal will be to listen carefully to the Spirit as He illuminates any area in our lives that is not under the shadow of the Cross. The only resurrection there is must come through a cross. And the life we now live is lived with a constant glory in the Cross of Christ our Savior. Let’s dive into the uncomfortable together in order that Jesus might lift us up into the fullness of the joy of knowing Him.
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